Here’s my philosophy: 80% diet, 20% exercise.
I can not stress this enough, but no matter how much you exercise, you will not FEEL better or LOOK better unless you are fueling your body with the right stuff. Trust me I’ve been there, and I have seen my body completely transform before my eyes.
BACK STORY (skip if you don’t have time:):
Growing up, my mom always bought the cheap easy meals. I grew up on ramen noodles, mac and cheese, chicken nuggets, and I even remember sneaking into the kitchen one time just to have a couple of spoonfuls of butter! Not to mention my undying love for fruit roll ups and Nutella! About 8 years ago, my mom got really sick and found out she had many things wrong with her body: lymes disease being one of them. It caused her to have extreme fatigue, hormonal changes, arthritis, insomnia, and an irregular heartbeat among other things. That is when our diets completely changed into all organic foods. I never actually thought anything of it, and actually developed a bad attitude toward our lifestyle change which caused me to binge eat at my friend’s house’s all the foods I was deprived of at my house.
Beginning High School, I found out that I was allergic to corn (IT’S IN EVERYTHING) and peanuts (not to mention also basically every plant in the state of Arizona). Because of this, I now had a solid reason to start eating better, and that’s when I started seeing some real changes. I think I lost about 10 pounds just avoiding corn alone, which actually made the world of a difference. Not only that, but I FELT so much better. My skin cleared up (more or less) and I actually started having motivation to go out to the gym and make an effort to change my body, even though I was already a pretty active person through playing soccer. During this time, especially since it was such a critical age, I remember feeling so self conscious of my body. I didn’t have great posture, I wore the same exact outfits: skinny jeans and a baggy t-shirt. I was intimidated by girls my age who looked like they were so confident with themselves, and I didn’t have the best outlook on life. I felt limited because of the way I viewed myself.
As you can see, I’ve been on a roller coaster of ups and downs, experimenting with my health (as we all do) and I am here to tell you, I HAVE FOUND WHAT WORKS and it’s not starving yourself or killing yourself at the gym. And I want to share what I have found with you!
First of all, as I write this, I have just eaten two chocolate chip cookies so don’t think there is no fun in eating anymore, because I also have abs now too:) Even though I am on a journey and I have so much more to go, I’m proud with what I have accomplished!
I take things one step at a time, mainly because as you start doing the little things and see results, you will have the motivation to do the bigger things. These steps will get progressively more demanding.
The first thing i would suggest doing is 1). STOP WITH THE HEAVY SAUCES AND SUGARY DRINKS. Drink water with every meal instead of ordering a soda or lemonade. Have freshly squeezed orange juice as your sweet juice. When it comes to ordering a salad, instead of ordering ranch, do a balsamic vinaigrette. Also, when cooking at home, use coconut oil instead of butter. Sauces and drinks (if not homemade) are made with countless preservatives, and are likely to increase your health risks. These things are easy because they do not require any extra effort on your part, just that conscious decision to skip out on the extras.
The second thing I have found that works is 2). DRINK A SMOOTHIE/PROTEIN SHAKE EVERY MORNING. The results I got from this one definitely surprised me. I have felt a new sense of energy every morning that gets me going for the day. Here are some things I love to put in my smoothies:
Base: Almond Milk, Orange Juice, Carrot Juice (1 cup is the best for one serving)
Fruit (always frozen): bananas, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, pineapple, apples, raspberries, mangoes, papayas, peaches, you name it
Vegetables: Spinach, kale, cucumber, carrots
For thickness: oats, protein powder, frozen fruit definitely helps a lot!
Extras: Almonds, almond butter, chia seeds, flax seed oil, honey, maple syrup, cranberries
I’m finding new stuff every day to put in my smoothies, but these are usually the things I will add. It’s a much easier way to fill yourself up without eating really bready things! I’ve found that eating carbs in the morning makes me lethargic and unmotivated, so this definitely helps with that!
Another thing I have found is 3). DRINK A GALLON OF WATER EVERY DAY. This one was hard for me and there are times when I do not reach my goal. But, I have also seen the biggest visual results in my stomach with this! As I drink water constantly through out the day, I flush out all the toxins/ food in my body fast, which makes the whole process go much smoother. I’ve found that the easiest way to measure a gallon is to buy a gallon jug at the store, that way you do not have to remember how many times you have filled up your water bottle. Also, room temperature/semi-cold is easier to drink than cold water.
Another tip 4). TRY TO MAKE AS MANY ALTERNATIVES AS POSSIBLE. What I mean is, eat rice crackers instead of Ritz crackers, choose chicken instead of steak on your tacos, choose brown rice and black beans over white rice and re-fried beans. It really is the small and simple things!
And lastly, 5). GO TO THE GYM AS OFTEN AS POSSIBLE! Motivation will not come easy and that’s why I suggest fixing the diet first before you go to the gym. When you start liking how you look, you realize that you have a chance at something greater and the motivation will come naturally on it’s own! Plus, you can’t gain muscle until you have lost all your fat so its’s beneficial to have the fat gone before you start hitting the weights. The thing I would suggest while waiting for that weight loss would be to do cardio and get in that habit of going to the gym every morning/night.
Notice that NOT ONCE did i say: no ice cream, no cookies, no fruit roll-ups, no nutella. My saying is have everything in moderation. Treat yourself with something sweet every day, as you start feeling different and eating better those things will not even be as appealing anymore. And you will be able to afford it because you made the healthy alternative choices throughout the day!